Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, March 23, 2012 - 4:28am

The University of Maine System has suspended all discretionary pay increases amid criticism over raises awarded to 44 employees at the University of Southern Maine during a tight budget year, The Bangor Daily News reported. The system will conduct a review of salary increases at all campuses.

 

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Kaeden Kass is angry that Miami University in Ohio will not let him work as a resident assistant in a men's dormitory, WLWT News reported. Kass identifies as a man, but he was born a woman. The university offered him a position as an R.A. in a women's suite, but he has rejected that, saying it reflects a bias against him as a transgendered student. A university spokeswoman declined to comment on Kass, citing confidentiality requirements. But the spokeswoman noted that the university does offer some gender-neutral housing for transgender students or others who may want the option.

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 4:29am

Chicago State University can't find $3.8 million in equipment, including more than 900 computers that might contain confidential information, a state auditor has found, the Associated Press reported. Other problems identified by the audit include issues with the way scholarships were awarded, poor oversight of contracts and overspending of a federal grant. In recent years, the university has been widely criticized for its management, particularly under its former president. The university issued a statement pledging its continued work to fix problems, and noting that the number of issues identified by the auditor this year was 34, down from last year's 41.

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Susan Aldridge is resigning as president of University of Maryland University College -- but isn't explaining (nor is the University System of Maryland) why she was placed on leave last month. UMUC is among the more successful distance education institutions in the country, so Aldridge's departure has prompted widespread curiosity. In an interview, William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the system, said that Maryland law barred him from discussing anything in any employee's personnel record. But Kirwan seemed anxious to rebut reports that her departure might be linked to a complaint filed with the legislative auditor, or due to frustrations of UMUC faculty members in Asia. Kirwan said that he hasn't even seen the complaint filed with the auditor, and that some changes were made a while ago to deal with some concerns of the professors in Asia.

He also said that he supported recent changes to move UMUC away from a traditional semester calendar, and that he did not see major changes ahead in the educational philosophy of the university. "I think it has a unique role to play, and it is much admired around the country," he said. "Most states would like to have an institution like it."

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 3:00am

Josef Dobes, the controversial education minister in the Czech Republic, is stepping down, Radio Prague reported. Dobes said he was leaving to protest budget cuts to his agency. Many students and academics in the country criticized his tenure in office, and particularly his plan to impose tuition at universities.

 

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 3:00am

A Boston College football player is facing charges of violating the wiretap statute in Massachusetts by secretly recording another football player having sex with a female student, the Associated Press reported. The female student says that she found out about the recording after the football player distributed it and people started making fun of her. A lawyer for the football player facing charges denied wrongdoing and questioned whether the videotape exists.

 

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Karen McCormack of Wheaton College, in Massachusetts, examines the challenges faced by women and minorities in recovering from the foreclosure crisis. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 3:00am

University tuition fees rose by 2.58 percent in 40 developed countries in 2011 (1.76 percent when accounting for inflation), but student aid increased as well, leading to an overall increase in higher education affordability worldwide, according to a study published today by Higher Education Strategy Associates, a research group. While tuition rose significantly in the United States and South Africa, it fell by more than 5 percent in Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Russia and Turkey; and while student aid declined in the U.S., due to cutbacks in Pell Grants, it increased significantly in Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa, the group found.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 4:29am

Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives are threatening to cut the budget of the University of Michigan if it does not provide more details on its research with stem cells, The Detroit Free Press reported. The Republicans are specifically demanding information about the exact number of stem cell lines at Michigan, something university officials say is more complicated than it may sound. The university has turned over a report on its work with stem cells, but that hasn't satisfied the legislators.

 

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